Ethan Chapman’s dream to make it to the Big League level hasn’t happened yet. This past Winter, Ethan signed to play 2017 in the Mexican League (AAA level) with the Vaqueros Union Laguna club where he just began his season last week.
Off the field, he’s a husband and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. His faith is at the center of who he is as a person.
Today is the third of a season-long diary that Ethan is going to share with us as he continues his battle through minor league baseball and his quest to make it to the Big Leagues.
You can read Ethan’s first diary submission here.
One of the most difficult things to deal with as an athlete is Playing Time or (PT). This is a big issue from whenever you start playing sports as a kid to the highest levels of the game. For everyone sitting the bench for the first time comes at different points in their career. For me it didn’t come until about my third year in professional baseball. It’s a very humbling experience and you can either choose to work harder and support your teammate that’s playing ahead of you or be filled with envy and bitterness which will not help you crack the line up.
Even this year I have been benched against starting pitchers who are left handed. This isn’t something I agree with but in baseball and in life we can only control what we can. When I’m playing or on the bench I give my all to my team and honestly support the player that’s starting over me that day. My faith has really helped me with that process. Instead of giving up or becoming bitter I know that God is in control and “works for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28). Showing anger or jealousness towards a teammate doesn’t accomplish anything, he wants to play the game just as much as I do!
In Mexico, the routine is a little different than affiliated ball in the states. A lot more hands off. In the states, I played for the Kansas City Royals and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. Both organizations are more structured and the teams want to keep more of an eye on you. Mandatory workouts, showing up at the field at 1PM for a 7 o’clock game, dress codes, and even in rookie ball we had a curfew. The Mexican and independent leagues are a lot more relaxed. They trust you to get your work done on your own without being monitored. If you care about your career you shouldn’t need someone telling you what to do and when to do it.
We are currently on the road in Monclova and the only thing we really have to be ready for is the bus leaves for the field at 5:15 pm for the 7:30 pm game. This is something that took me a while to get use to. There is a lot of down time! Some guys use the down time to finish up some college courses, FaceTime with their families back home, sleep in, or go to the gym. I use this down time with a lot of Netflix but also with a lot of reading. Right now I am reading “How to Influence Others” by John Maxwell and “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, both of them I highly recommend! I’ve never been a big reader until I got out of college.
Doing my daily reading, devotionals and spending time in prayer really help stay focused on what is important. Baseball is a game of ups and downs and a lot of emotions. We have to be able to stay as even as possible; setting that time aside to read and pray helps me do just that!
One of the best things about being on a new team is creating new friendships and brotherhoods. Some of these relationships can last a lifetime! Being able to count on guys to be there for you when you’re in a slump, struggles back home or even just to keep you humble is priceless. Connecting with men of faith on a team is always a goal of mine. It’s great to have guys beside you on the same journey spiritually as well as our career. I am thankful for all the connections and relationships that have been built through baseball.
Through 22 games for Vaqueros Union Laguna, Ethan is currently batting .325 with 25 hits, 16 runs, and 7 stolen bases from the leadoff position.
You can reach Ethan on twitter @EthanMChapman.